The $118,000 Super High Speed Shark Week Camera

Illustration for article titled The $118,000 Super High Speed Shark Week Camera

Best part of Shark Week? Watching a 4200-pound fish jump five feet clear of the water. This $118,000 high speed camera is what Discovery Channel uses to capture those breathtaking moments in glorious HD.

The Phantom HD GOLD isn't just a $118,000 high speed camera—it's a high-speed camera that can produce stunning 35mm depth of field shots at HD or 2K resolutions. And it's super-rare too, with only 150 currently available worldwide.

What really sets the Phantom apart from other high-end cameras is the capacity of its lens. It typically films from 555fps at 2K resolution to over 2000fps at 512 x 512. It records 1920 x 1080 at a staggering 1,052fps. What's more, the frame rate is adjustable on the fly, allowing the cinematographer to shorten and lengthen any moment as he sees fit. It can even capture HD at just 10 fps, though it seems a waste to use a shutter that closes in 1/500,000 of a second for 6-second exposures.


All this data, roughly 2.3 gigapixels per second, needs to go somewhere. The Phantom uses two solid state systems for storage: either with 8, 16 or 32 GB of internal memory or the Phantom's proprietary hot-swapping SSDs, dubbed CineMags, that hold 128, 256 or 512 GB each. When one of these storage magazines is filled, the Phantom CineStation allows downloading of the images to a PC running the Phantom software application. The Cinemags can't record as much as the internal memory—only 1.3 gigapixels per second, but can download a 14.4GB video (roughly 4 seconds of 1920 x 1080 at 14-bits-per-pixel, each 3.6 GB) in seconds versus the nearly 15 minutes required through a standard GB Ethernet.

Update: Take a look at a video below for a sample of its work.

Monster Machines is all about the most exceptional machines in the world, from massive gadgets of destruction to tiny machines of precision, and everything in between.

You can keep up with Andrew Tarantola, the author of this post, on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.


Share This Story

Get our `newsletter`


This is a gadget site, yet there's nary a mention of the HIGHER-END Phantom Flex or Phantom 65, also from Vision Research (makers of the Phantom HD Gold)?

Even Vision Research acknowledges they're second-rate: " Many of our customers are trading in their Phantom HD cameras for a new Phantom Flex. So, we have a number of refurbished HD GOLD cameras at a breakthrough price point."